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Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Eternal Security

 

003white  Index To Section 8A.. A Question of Salvation       >         Two Phase Atonement

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Atonement
 

The Two Phase Atonement

Carol Brooks

Were our sins atoned for when Christ died on Calvary, which is the view held by the overwhelming majority of Christians? Or does the Bible give us a completely different timeline?

Introduction

The Atonement
In The Old Testament and The New

Why Does Scripture Contradict Itself On The Timing of The Atonement With Only One Exception

Were The Apostles Talking Through Their Collective Hats?

Yom Kippur and Passover

The Sprinkling of The Blood

Hebrews 9

The Temple Fills with "Smoke"

Reconcilation, The Only Word Used Exclusively in The Past Tense

Twisting The Truth

Conclusion



Introduction
From cover to cover of the Bible God makes it amply clear that He hates sin of any kind. So much so that He has long decreed that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And, since we are all sinners, there is nothing any of us can do to escape the arrow of His wrath that is unwaveringly pointed in our direction. Regardless of whether you agree or not, an idyllic world free from the ravages of all wrong-doing, disease and death is, and always has been, God's ultimate plan for our planet.

He calls it "Heaven".

    If you think the Bible is preposterously harsh when it says that even a tiny infraction deserve death, you may never have taken the time to envision a world completely free of any wrong doing (sin). Perhaps you should do so now -HERE.

However, at the same time the Father is not sitting somewhere up there swinging His sword of justice, ready to bring it down on our heads every time we step out of line. While He will not tolerate sin, He has provided us with a way to be forgiven, to be reconciled to Him, and live for all eternity in His kingdom. In other words we can be 'saved' from the consequences of our own actions.

However, as Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "... without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". This means He cannot not just let us off the hook so to speak. However, a merciful God does not necessarily demand our blood for our sins.

For those who will, He provided a substitute.


The Atonement
In The Old Testament
Atonement, a commonly used Old Testament term, simply means to make amends or reparation for an offense or wrong doing. Although a secondary meaning - to bring into unity or accord - might be considered obsolete in other quarters, it still applies in Christianity.

Over and above the many grain and drink offerings in the Old Testament God commanded Israel to set aside one day each year, the tenth day of the seventh month that was called "Yom Kippur" or the 'Day of Atonement". Although there were several different sin offerings made by the individual through the year (ex. Numbers 28), Yom Kippur was the most solemn and important day in the Jewish calendar. As Leviticus 23:28-29 tells us, any person who did not humble himself on Yom Kippur would be cut off from his people.

    "This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement (Gr. kphar) shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord. (Leviticus 16:29-30 NASB)

The author of the book of Hebrews both compared and contrasted the prescribed ritual of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) carried out by the High Priest in the Old Testament, with Christ's redeeming sacrifice on the cross. He tells us how the imperfect observances on Yom Kippur were but a type, or shadow of the perfect to come. See Typology

On Yom Kippur an innocent animal, that symbolically bore the punishment for the sins of the nation, was sacrificed - its blood shed as a temporary substitute for the blood of the real offenders and brought reconciliation between God and the people. It was also a graphic reminder that death is the decreed punishment for wrongdoing - without shedding of blood is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).

And In The New
However, the book of Hebrews also says "it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (10:4). So one has to ask what the sacrifice accomplished.

In Leviticus 16 (above) atonement has been translated from the Hebrew word kphar that literally means "to cover (specifically with bitumen)". In fact, this is exactly how in referring to the ark in Genesis 6, God used the word kphar, when He told Noah to cover the inside and the outside of the ark with pitch.

    Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover (Gk. kphar) it inside and out with pitch.  (Genesis 6:14 NASB)

In other words, the animal sacrifices of the OT were but a temporary measure that covered over a person's sin but, as Hebrews 10:4 says, did not take them away. In fact, Yom Kippur was a 'type' or foreshadowing, of a future event that had yet to occur. See Typology. This Old Testament Feast day pointed to the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. Unlike the Old Testament sacrifices Calvary was a one-time event that did not need to be repeated every year (Hebrews 10:10-12). Christ's death did not temporarily cover over sin but, as John wrote, "Christ is "the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29)

With this in mind, the overwhelming majority of Christians believe that our sins were atoned for, i.e their sins were forgiven when Christ died on Calvary

But if this is true ... 


Why Does Scripture Contradict Itself On The Timing of The Atonement?
Every Christian I know of assumes that the atonement has already taken place. If asked, they will give you a wide variety of answers to the question of when someone is fully and finally saved.

Some will tell you that God's elect were saved in the dim mists of God's eternity. Others that a person is saved when he prays the sinners prayer, when he is baptized, or when he joins a church. Yet others will say that salvation comes when the person has received the Holy Spirit and spoken in tongues, or been born again. Perhaps the most popular answer is they are saved when they make a sincere confession of faith in Jesus ...when they "call upon the name of the Lord". (Romans 10:13) See  Baptism   and   Tongues and The Second Blessing

However, those who are actually interested in what the Bible says on the subject - and who are willing to pay close attention to the words the apostles chose to use will run across some extremely confusing statements. Statements that seem to flatly contradict each other.

For example, the New Testament sometimes says that salvation is an accomplished reality (past), is an ongoing process (present continuous), and even that it has yet to happen (future). Also note that this seeming contradiction is not limited to salvation alone. It also occurs with bewildering regularity in statements about other crucially important topics - justification, redemption, glorification, and adoption.

Lets look at some examples. (Unless otherwise stated, Bible quotations are from the NASB with all emphasis added)

Salvation
Past: Ephesians 2:8-9 states that Christians have already been saved

    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB)

Present: 1 Corinthians 1:18 says the process is ongoing

    For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB)

    (Note: The KJV renders this verse as "to us who are saved". However Young's literal translation and many other versions translate this verse as "to us who are being saved ", because it reflects a greater degree of accuracy and faithfulness to the Greek, which has both perishing and saved in the present continuous tense. Vincent's Word Studies also says the Greek reads "being saved: in process of salvation").

Future: Matthew 10:22 and Romans 13:11 both say it is still in the future

    You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.  (Matthew 10:22 NASB)

    Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. (Romans 13:11 NASB)

While 1 Thessalonians 5:8 takes it a step further, speaking of the "hope" of salvation

    ... let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:8 NASB)

Redemption
Past: Several verses in Scripture refer to Redemption as a done deal...

    being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Romans 3:24)

    In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7)

    in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14)

Future: However, other verses say we are awaiting redemption. The first quote is by the Savior Himself.

    Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:27-28 NASB)

    who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:14. NASB)

    Which is the earnest (arrhabon) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:14 KJV)

    Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

Adoption
Past: Romans 8:15 says we have been adopted into God's family

    For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15)

Future: But, just a few verses later we read that we are still awaiting adoption

    And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23).

Glorification
Future: A similar situation arises with the Biblical doctrine of glorification.

    and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:17)

Past: But just a few lines later we read that we have already been glorified.

    "... these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

Future: While Colossians speaks of the "hope of Glory"

    to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Justification
The verb 'justified' and the noun 'righteousness' are both derivatives of the same Greek root word dikaios which, by implication, means innocent or holy

Past: Once again, we are told both that we have been justified

    Therefore, having been justified (Greek. dikaioo) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1 NASB)

Future: And that we are waiting for the hope of righteousness.

    For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness (Greek dikaiosune). (Galatians 5:5 NASB)

Seated In the Heavenly Realm.
There is one very confusing verse in Ephesians, which projects Christians as already seated with Christ in "heavenly places"

    and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6 NASB)

While Colossians 3:1 says

    Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1 NASB)

Which again is contradictory. Either we are seated with Him in the heavenly realm OR He is above us, seated with God. Although Ephesians 2:6 cannot be taken literally, it still contradicts Colossians 3:1.

The Only Exception
The only exception to this mishmash of tenses is with the English words 'reconcile' and 'reconciliation' that were always rendered in the past tense - for good reason. I will, however, come to this later.

 
Were The Apostles Talking Through Their Collective Hats?
Most of us in the modern world, entirely used to 30 second 'sound bites', tend to do more glossing over than studying. Thus I have to wonder how many Christians realize that these discrepancies not only exist, but completely contradict virtually everything they have been told about the timing of the atonement. A few who have realized there is a contradiction in tenses have tried to harmonize them with their belief that you are already completely saved. But, as is so often the case, much speaking is used to explain the unexplainable, usually resulting in a totally unconvincing patch up job.

Let's get down to brass tacks... an event cannot be both past and future. Either the authors of the New Testament were talking through their collective hats, or what we believe does not entirely square with what the Bible says.

So what is the answer? Are we saved now, or not? Can we be assured we have salvation now, or is it something we have to strive and hope for. Have we already been adopted as sons, or are we eagerly waiting for this adoption? Are we righteous now, or is it yet a distant hope?

And since it is impossible that Jesus' hand-picked messengers didn't realize or understand what tenses they were using, the answer to each of the above questions is .. BOTH. All three tenses are correct in every instance..

But to properly understand that concept requires a more complete understanding of the atonement.

There are two very important fact to bear in mind. Not only was the ritual performed on Yom Kippur prescribed by God Himself,  but it was never deviated from in even the slightest regard.


Yom Kippur and Passover
Yom Kippur
In the Old Testament, the temple was divided into three sections -

    1.) The outer court with an entrance on the East side was as far as the common man could go.

    2) The second section was the Holy Place which only the priests were allowed to enter

    3) The third was the Holiest Place or Holy of Holies was the innermost and most sacred area where God appeared in the cloud over the mercy seat. It was separated from the Holy Place by a large and very ornate curtain or veil. The only person ever allowed behind the veil was the High Priest, and that only once a year on Yom Kippur or the Day Of Atonement.

With that in mind, let us take a closer and more diligent look at the actions of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.

Skipping over the ritual washings and prescribed garments etc. which do not particularly relate to the topic at hand (to read the entire account go to Leviticus 16), we are told that Aaron could not offer the sacrifice for the sins of the people until his own sins had been 'covered over'. This meant that he first had to offer the prescribed sacrifice of a bullock for his own sins, followed by the sacrifice of a goat for the sins of the people. An extremely brief summary of the yearly ritual that Aaron followed without the slightest deviation is as follows.

    He first sacrificed a bullock, then took the blood inside the veil, along with a 'fire pan' of burning coals and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense. As the cloud of incense or fragrant smoke covered the mercy seat, Aaron took some of the blood of the bull and using his finger, sprinkled it on, and in front of the mercy seat, seven times (Vs.12-14).

    After this, Aaron went out of the Holy of Holies and slaughtered the goat (the sin offering for the people), then brought its blood inside the veil and repeated the ritual, sprinkling the blood on and in front of the mercy seat (V. 15).

It is very apparent that, in both cases, the shedding of the blood outside the tabernacle was only half of the ritual that was only completed when the high priest brought the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat. It was 'offered' as an atonement for sin. As pastor John D. Clark, Sr. so correctly says

    If the story of Jesus had ended with the crucifixion, no atonement for sin would have been accomplished. Only the Father's acceptance of Jesus' sacrificial death accomplished that. [01]

In other words each atonement was a two part process.

Passover
Similarly, when the Egyptians refused to give the Jews their freedom in spite of despite plague after plague being visited on them by God, the Israelites were given very explicit instructions... They were to sacrifice a lamb and place the blood upon the door posts and lintels of their homes. That night the angel "passed over" the houses of the Jews that were covered by the lamb's blood, but caused the death of the first-born of all families in the houses that were not. Exodus 12:13 says

    The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  (Exodus 12:13 NASB)

The point being that sacrificing the lamb was not enough. They had to do something with the blood, which was to put it on the two door posts and on the lintel of the houses.

If the angel didn't see the blood, the first born died.


The Sprinkling of The Blood
However, the point has to be emphasized that the rituals of Yom Kippur were a pattern, or a glimpse of an actual event yet to come, (See Typology) and nothing that Aaron was instructed to do was without significance

Since Aaron's God-prescribed ritual had two parts, sacrifice followed by sprinkling, why are we assuming that Jesus' blood shed outside the city and never came anywhere near the Temple (John 19:20) was sufficient to complete the atonement?

Just as the blood of the goat was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, Jesus' blood had to (in a sense) be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, which would have constituted the second part of the atonement ritual. There are, in fact, two verses in the New Testament which actually speak of this "sprinkling" of Jesus' blood...

    1) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling (Gk. rhantismos) of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.  (1 Peter 1:2 KJV)

    2) and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled (Gk. rhantismos) blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24 NASB)

(Please note that I have quoted the King James version in the first example because it and other literal versions are more true to the original Greek, i.e.  Christ's blood is sprinkled. The Greek does not say when, why, or on whom it is sprinkled. See for yourself HERE. Other versions, including the NASB say believers have to be sprinkled.

The Greek rhantismos used in the above verses literally means sprinkle. You can say that Jesus' blood on Calvary poured out, dripped, gushed, oozed etc. But, not by any stretch of the imagination was it ever sprinkled much less taken into the Temple.

The human high priest of the day was hardly like to have snuck off with a vial of Jesus' blood. And even if he were so inclined, he wouldn't have been able to do much with it because the Ark/Mercy Seat was never present in Herod's Temple. Besides which the human 'high priest' no longer had the authority he once did. Jesus was now the once and forever High-priest..

None of which changes the fact that without the second part of the ritual - the Father's acceptance of the blood sacrifice the atonement is incomplete.

So the million dollar question is what happened to the second part of the ritual? Did it perhaps take place ...

After the Ascension?
Orthodox theology believes that God accepted the sacrifice of Christ's blood (either when it happened on the cross or when Christ ascended into Heaven), therefore, sin has already been put away for the true believer. As previously mentioned, pastor John D. Clark, Sr. correctly stated

    If the story of Jesus had ended with the crucifixion, no atonement for sin would have been accomplished. Only the Father's acceptance of Jesus' sacrificial death accomplished that. [02]

But then he got the timing all wrong. He added,

    We should always bear in mind that Jesus did not ascend into heaven because his atoning work was finished; rather, he ascended as our high priest to finish his atoning work. There, in the holiest place of heaven, Jesus "appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26). It was this sacrifice of Christ in heaven, and God's acceptance of it, not just his horrible death, which purchased our redemption. [03]

I would love to know where Christians get all that. The ONLY thing we are told about the ascension is that Jesus was lifted up into a cloud out of their sight of the disciples (Acts 1:9 NASB) and that after His ascension, He was seated at the right of the Father (Acts 7:56). There is not a single word about finishing His atoning work. So lets not put words into God's mouth.

In any case, the author of Hebrews disputes our inventions.


Hebrews 9
Pay attention to the tenses, particularly in verse 24.

    (24) For Christ did not (past tense)enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear (future tense) in the presence of God for us; (25) nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. (26) Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (27) And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (28) so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear (future tense) a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (Hebrews 9:24-28 NASB )

The "has been" in verse 26 may be a little confusing to some. "Has been" is the perfect tense which, in English, indicates that the action has already been completed. The perfect tense differs from the past tense inasmuch as it focuses on a past action that affects the present.

However, in the original Hebrew and Greek, the authors of the Bible often used this tense to indicate a future action as if it were already done.  And there is a good reason for this... They knew that when God said something would take place -  there wasn't the slightest shadow of a doubt that it would happen. They therefore used the past tense to emphasize the certainty of a future event.

    (Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, instead of adding a note in the margin explaining what the perfect tense signified, the translators of various versions changed it into the future tense and, in doing so have completely muddied the waters. See Footnote I

In other words, no less than three times in four verses, we are told that Christ appearing before the face of God for us - a second time for salvation will happen in the future.

When in the future?

Again the Bible is very clear. Verse 26 specifically says - at the consummation of the ages.

This is supported by another of the high priest's actions on Yom Kippur


The Temple Fills with "Smoke"
The account in Leviticus 16 tells us that on Yom Kippur when Aaron, as High Priest, entered into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, to atone for the sins of the nation, he not only carried with him the blood which was to be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, but he also carried a fire-pan full of coals of fire from the altar, and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense. He put the incense on the fire before the Lord so that the cloud of incense (smoke) covered the mercy seat, (V. 12-13), and doubtless filled the inner temple.

In the book of Revelation we are told that just before the Seven Bowls are poured out on the earth,

    ... the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. (Revelation 15:8 NASB)

What is the significance of the smoke filling the temple at this point?

Everything points to the fact that that the second half of the ritual of Yom Kippur is completed at the end of the age. Smoke fills the temple as Jesus the great High Priest appears before the face of the Lord for us putting away sin (Hebrews 9:24). After which, the atonement finally complete, he can gather together His sons of the Kingdom - effectively getting them out of the way before the Seven Bowls rain down. [Also See That Earth Shaking Seventh Trumpet]

    Note that in Isaiah chapter 6, verse 4, the prophet mentioned that "the temple was filling with smoke". See more about this in Footnote II

 
Reconciliation, The Only Word Used Exclusively in The Past Tense.
In the New Testament concepts such as salvation, justification, redemption, glorification etc are sometimes said to have taken place, and sometimes said to be in the future. However, 'reconcile' (or reconciliation) is the only exception. It is never said to be in the future. Romans 5:10-11 says

    For if while we were enemies we were reconciled (Gr. katallasso) to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled (Gr. katallasso), we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (Gr. katallage) (Romans 5:10-11 NASB)

There are two things to be noted about these verses.

1.) Because the Greek katallage was translated 'atonement' in the King James version of Romans 5:11, many people believe that our sins are already completely atoned for, and that this must have happened either on Calvary or after Christ ascended to the Father.  Note: The KJV translated katallage into 'reconciliation' the other three times the word was used in the NT (Once in Romans 11:15, and twice in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

There is a difference between reconciliation and atonement. The latter means satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury - to make amends. Reconciliation means the reestablishing of cordial relations. A reconciliation takes place when two people or groups become friendly again after an argument or disagreement. One gets a good sense of the word as it is used in 1 Corinthians

    But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled (Gk. katallasso) to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11 NASB)

2.) But, if Christ reconciled us to the Father, doesn't it mean that we are already completely saved?

Unfortunately not!

Once again pay attention to the tenses in Romans 5:10-11 (above) - Paul very clearly said having been reconciled, we shall be saved by Christ's life.

When Christ paid the price for sin by sacrificing Himself, He made it possible for us to have a relationship with God - He reconciled us with the Father - which made it possible for us to have a compatible and even friendly relationship with Him. However we shall be finally saved when the Father formally accepts Christ's sacrifice.

It makes perfect sense that this word is never used in the future tense in the NT.

It is well to pay attention to the fact that the Day of Atonement was immediately preceded by the ten Days of Awe, marked by repentance and introspection. These final ten Days of Awe will precede the ending of the age when the doors of salvation will close once and for all. Without repentance and holiness right up to the last day, there will be NO atonement for sin and no salvation.

See  Footnote III for other crucial 'mistranslations'

 
Twisting The Truth
Tragically, the term "saved" is all too often used to mean a salvation that we now have and which cannot be lost. A fantasy that has been fuelled by the clear Calvinistic bias of several popular translations (The NIV and ESV included). In their effort to make sure we understand that the Bible says what they think it says, they translated the Greek arrhabon into 'deposit' or 'guarantee' in several New Testament verses, like Ephesians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 1:22, and 2 Corinthians 5:5. The NET Bible says down payment which is as bad.

Arrhabon actually means 'earnest' and is translated so in the KJV. (The NASB renders it 'pledge').

    An earnest is something (usually money) given as a token or an assurance of something to come. It shows sincerity of intention.... the person sincerely intended to complete the transaction. It is to be noted that if the person receiving the earnest money fails to complete his part of the bargain, (some modern real estate rules aside) he is usually required to refund it. This is amply illustrated by one event in the Bible that uses the same word.

We can argue the meaning all we want, but there is substantial evidence that arrhabon does not mean guarantee. the word has been quite clearly transliterated (The same word written in a different language) from the Hebrew arbwn used a mere three times - in the account of the relationship between Judah and Tamar. This is certainly not the most savory of Biblical stories, but the Bible records many incidents that it doesn't necessarily approve of.

    (16) So he (Judah) turned aside to her (Tamar) by the road, and said, "Here now, let me come in to you"; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, "What will you give me, that you may come in to me?"  (17)  He said, therefore, "I will send you a young goat from the flock." She said, moreover, "Will you give a pledge (Heb. arbwn) until you send it?"  (18)  He said, "What pledge (Heb. arbwn) shall I give you?" And she said, "Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. (19) Then she arose and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow's garments.  (20)  When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge (Heb. arbwn) from the woman's hand, he did not find her. (Genesis 38:16-20 NASB)

Judah gave Tamar his seal and staff, as a pledge that he would send her a goat. And when he sent the animal, he fully expected to have his 'earnest' returned. 

If God sees that you or I fail to keep our part of the bargain, He has every right to take back his earnest of the Holy Spirit. It is refundable

All this fiddling with the text was done in order to convey preconceived ideas that the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer, which means he or she can never be lost. Unknowingly, countless people have relied on these translations, believing that Scripture actually speaks of a guarantee when, in fact, it does no such thing. There is a world of difference between guarantee and earnest. .

See A Deposit Guaranteeing" Our Inheritance?


Conclusion
The Bible telling us that we have been saved, are being saved and will be saved, is not at all contradictory.

Regardless of what your  denomination, pastor, or school of theology has told you (or even know themselves), the Scriptures are very clear...The salvation process that had its beginning in a watershed moment on Calvary will be concluded in the near future.

Complete deliverance will not be realized until God formally accepts Jesus' sacrifice which will happen immediately after the Great Tribulation and just before the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet. Smoke will fill the temple as Christ our High Priest appears before the face of God for us. It is at this moment that  the mystery of God finishes and the doors to the Kingdom forever close. There will be no more opportunity for anyone who has not yet accepted God's offer of salvation to do so. See That Earth Shaking Seventh Trumpet

    but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7 NASB) Note: In Scripture, the word "mystery" refers to something that has not yet been revealed.

After which Christ reaps the earth (what we call the Rapture). Note: The sole purpose of the Rapture is to get believers out of harm's way while the wrath of God, in the form of the Seven Bowls is poured down on the earth - the final end of all man's kingdoms.

Since 'Salvation' and the 'Kingdom of God' are inextricably linked it is hardly surprising that the "Now And Not Yet" scenario applies to both, which is why the Gospel authors also used different tenses when they spoke about the Kingdom. See The Kingdom... when?

Also See

The Judgment of God - The First Six Trumpets

 The Rapture  

What and Where is Heaven?

 


Footnote I... The "Prophetic Perfect"

One of the most interesting uses of verbs in the Hebrew Old Testament was how future events (prophecies) were spoken of as being in the past. Very often, prophecies about the future were expressed, not in the future tense as we might expect, but in the past or perfect tenses. In other words, the future was described as having already occurred. By doing this the prophets emphasized the certainty of God's word, inasmuch as a future event would occur, without question or doubt. It was as good as done. This idiom familiar to scholars, who often call it the "prophetic perfect" tense, was carried over into the New Testament by the Hebrew authors/prophets.

If you think about it, modern English users sometimes use the past tense to indicate that some action is as good as completed. In fact the word "done" is often used in reply to being asked to do something.

Examples of prophecies made either in the past or perfect tense abound...

The Old Testament
Genesis 15:18: On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:  (Genesis 15:18 NASB)

    This promise was made long before Abraham even had any descendants.  (Both the NASB and the KJV use the present perfect)

Numbers 21:34. When Og, the king of Bashan, and his army came out to battle the nation of Israel, God's assured Moses that they would not be defeated in the following words that, interestingly enough, seems to be how most translations render it. 

    And Jehovah saith unto Moses, "Fear him not, for into thy hand I have given him, and all his people, and his land, and thou hast done to him as thou hast done to Sihon king of the Amorite, who is dwelling in Heshbon." (Numbers 21:34 YLT)

    But the Lord said to Moses, "Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon." (Numbers 21:34 NASB)


1 Samuel 2:31 is a prophecy about Eli, the High Priest. Although the NASB and the KJV use the future tense, the Hebrew text literally reads

    Lo, days are coming, and I have cut off thine arm, and the arm of the house of thy father, that an old man is not in thy house; (1 Samuel 2:31 YLT)

 Isaiah 9:6: Most modern Bible versions have changed the tense of Isaiah 9:6, which actually reads

    For a Child hath been born to us, a Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, and He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 YLT)

Isaiah 53: Many of the prophecies about the Messiah in Isaiah 53, are spoken in the past tense

    But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NASB)

    He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7 NASB)

Isaiah 52:13 deals with two promises... deliverance from captivity in Babylon, and the coming of the Messiah. Again, note how the verse is rendered in the literal version

    Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.  (Isaiah 52:13 NASB)

    Lo, My servant doth act wisely, He is high, and hath been lifted up, And hath been very high.  (Isaiah 52:13 YLT)

The New Testament
Ephesians 2:6.
These verses in Ephesians have retained the original past tense, which may create some confusion, since there is absolutely no evidence that God has already seated His people with Christ in the "heavenly realm".

    But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6 NASB)

However, Colossians 3:1 is far more literal when it states that we need to keep seeking the things above... where Christ is

    Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1 NASB)

In other words, the tense used in Ephesians 2:6 is a way of stating with absolute certainty that Christians  will be seated with Christ in heavenly places

Jude 1:14
Perhaps because most Christians have no knowledge of the "prophetic perfect", the average reader would wonder when the Lord came with thousands of His saints. However, the past tense is simply stating that the Lord will come with His saints.

    It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,  (Jude 1:14 NASB)

    And prophesy also to these did the seventh from Adam--Enoch--saying, `Lo, the Lord did come in His saintly myriads, (Jude 1:14 YLT) [PLACE IN TEXT]


Footnote II (Isaiah 6:4)
Many commentators believe that when Isaiah wrote that "the temple was filling with smoke" (6:4) he was referring to "the cloud" which was the visible symbol of Divinity in the Old Testament. However, Isaiah used the Hebrew word shn (smoke) not nn.

Also, it is important to note that Isaiah was not allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, a prerogative reserved for the High Priest alone, once a year on Yom Kippur. (In the eighth chapter, verse 2, Isaiah mentions Uriah as being the high priest). Therefore, when the prophet said he saw the "Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple", he could not have seen the Father in the Holy of Holies.

Additionally, the account goes on to say that the angel touched Isaiah's lips with a burning coal (literally, "a hot stone") which he took from the altar with tongs, telling him that his iniquity had been taken away and his sins forgiven (Vs. 5-7). There were only two places in the temple where a fire was kept continuously burning.

    1) Incense was burned twice a day on the gold altar located in front of the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.  (Exodus 30:6-7)

     2) The fire on the altar of sacrifice in the courtyard was initially kindled by the Father Himself (Leviticus 9:24) and was never allowed to go out. (Leviticus 6: 13-14).

(In view of the fact that the angel told the prophet that his sins had been forgiven, it is likely that the hot stone came from the altar of sacrifice).

The point being that when Isaiah said "the temple was filling with smoke", he was not referring to the "Holy of Holies " but to the outer courtyard of to the Most Holy Place. The Holy of Holies only filled with smoke on Yom Kippur.

    He shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil. (Leviticus 16:12 NASB)   [PLACE IN TEXT]


Footnote III... Two other Crucial "Mis-translations"
1) The proper names... Sheol, Hades and Gehenna were translated "hell" that, in any case, does not mean fire and brimstone. It comes from an old English word which means to cover over. Hmmm! Sort of the same description of Sheol found in the Old Testament. [See What and Where is Hell?]

2) The pronoun "He" is used for the Holy Spirit, when the pronoun in the original Greek is neither gender nor number specific. In fact some literal translations render the Greek pronoun "it" in English. [Details]

3) The NIV and several other popular translations is several cases render the Hebrew arrhabon as deposit, when it actually means earnest. Worse, in some cases, they not only  translated arrhabon into the English deposit, but added the word guarantee. Unknowingly, countless people have relied on these translations, believing that Scripture actually speaks of a guarantee when, in fact, it does no such thing. There is a world of difference between guarantee and earnest. This "mis-translation" can only be accounted for by a Calvinistic bent, to say nothing of a clear bias. [Details]

The list is endless... It seems to be glaringly obvious that a pre-bias drove many of the translations. Sadly, in the effort to put forward what they believe to be true, the translators have led people away from what the Scriptures actually say. And since most people cannot speak Hebrew or Greek they rely on these inaccurate translations.

However, as is entirely possible, most people never think to do Hebrew and Greek word studies for themselves, thus will never know what the Scriptures really say. [PLACE IN TEXT]

 

End Notes
[01] Pastor John D. Clark, Sr. The Sacrifice of Christ. http://www.goingtojesus.com/topic_holyspirit.html?tname=trsacrifice

[02] [ibid.]

[03] Pastor John D. Clark, Sr. The Sacrifice of Christ. http://www.goingtojesus.com/topic_holyspirit.html?tname=trsacrifice

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